Parking Fine Boom: North Sydney Council issues a ticket every TEN MINUTES.
Anzac Day 2024: Mosman Collective’s essential guide to lower north shore events on April 25.

Oh Crap! Mosman beaches could go untested for contamination amid funding cuts.

Published On: April 10, 2024

Local swimmers could be at risk after the Minns Government’s decision to cut funds to the Beachwatch program.


A funding cut by the NSW Government has left the health and safety of lower north shore swimmers at risk, shifting water quality monitoring costs to local councils.

Mosman Collective can reveal that the Beachwatch program will stop testing local waters for contaminants like faecal matter from July 1.

North Sydney and Mosman Councils have been informed by the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) that to continue to participate in the service, they will need to sign on as a “program partner” and fund the water testing services themselves.

Mosman and North Sydney Councils have been told funding will be cut from July 1.

Since 1989, Beachwatch has measured pollution and sewage levels at four Mosman LGA beaches: Balmoral Baths, Clifton Gardens, Chinamans Beach and Edwards Beach.

Other lower north shore spots include Northbridge Baths, Clontarf Beach, Gurney Crescent Baths in Seaforth and Hayes St Beach in Neutral Bay.

All sites are tested monthly from May to September and weekly from October to April.

North Sydney Council says monitoring water quality at Hayes St Beach in Neutral Bay could cost more than $11,000 a year.

Mosman Collective understands three options have been given to councils from the Department of Planning and Environment for the new “partnership program”.

The councils can monitor the water quality themselves, collect samples and send them to the DPE for testing, or have the full testing service, which has been free until now.

Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan.

Get The Latest News!

Don’t miss our top stories delivered FREE each Friday.

Mosman Council said managing water quality on local beaches will cost ratepayers about $13,600 a year, while in North Sydney LGA, the estimated annual cost would be $11,500.

“This represents another case of the State Government cost shifting to local councils,” a Council spokesperson told Mosman Collective.

“The Beachwatch program has monitored and reported on water quality at swim sites in the Mosman local government area for the past 30 years.

“The program has been at no cost to local government, and now the State Government wants to change that to a fee-for-service arrangement.”

Another popular swimming spot, Northbridge Baths, could also be impacted by the funding cuts.

Member for North Shore, Felicity Wilson, whose electorate covers several tidal pools and beaches set to be impacted, said she was “dismayed” by the Labor Government’s “short-sighted decision to slash funding”.

“The former NSW Liberal Government committed an extra $18.5 million in our last budget to allow Beachwatch to be expanded,” Ms Wilson said, “ensuring the health and safety of our coastal areas and the community.”

“We should support initiatives that promote safe and clean beaches, not cut them.”

Member for North Shore Felicity Wilson said the former Government had promised $18.5m to expand the Beachwatch program.

Opposition Environment spokeswoman Kellie Sloane said the attempt to cut spending for Sydney’s main beaches was a “crappy decision”.

“The Labor government is again betraying coastal NSW communities,” she said.

University of Sydney Civil Engineering Professor Stuart Khan said forcing councils to pay would be the “nail in the coffin” for the Beachwatch program and could destroy Sydney’s reputation for having “clean beaches”.

“That’s a major part of our drawcard as a destination for people to come and have holidays,” he said.

A spokesperson for Beachwatch told Mosman Collective that Sydney LGA’s will be able to select the swim sites they wish to monitor from July.

“In 2022, the previous NSW Government made a decision to implement a universal Beachwatch Partnership Program which would allow an equitable partnership model with local councils across NSW, rather than the existing model where regional and inland councils pay while Sydney coastal councils did not,” the spokesperson said.

“Under this model, council’s may opt into the Beachwatch Partnership Program and select the number of swim sites they wish to promote and frequency of monitoring.”

“The NSW Government will continue to co-invest in the Beachwatch program by absorbing some labour and operational costs and supporting the reporting platform, website and forecast model.”

“Consultation regarding a transition to the Beachwatch Partnership Program is ongoing.”


Email: [email protected]

Share this story...

Parking Fine Boom: North Sydney Council issues a ticket every TEN MINUTES.
Anzac Day 2024: Mosman Collective’s essential guide to lower north shore events on April 25.

Get The Latest News!

Don’t miss our top stories delivered FREE each Friday.

Go to Top